Sick Day

Today I did something that I almost never do…I stayed home sick. I called into work sick and got a sub for my class tonight. I obsessed over this decision last night. I spent hours weighing all of the pros and cons. Today was supposed to be my first day at a new job teaching preschool. The list of why I couldn’t possibly call out sick on my first day was ridiculously long. The thought that I would be meeting parents and children for the first time totally congested and feeling less than stellar kept coming to mind as my list of reasons not to call out sick grew. What if a parent complained about the new teacher who came in sick? Worse, what if a child became ill in the next few days and it was my fault? Suddenly my long list of reasons I couldn’t call out seemed petty. I sent an email to my co-workers letting them know I was sick, I also said if I were feeling better I would be in, I would call in the morning if I were not coming in. I gave myself plenty of room to go in either direction come morning. And plenty of time to obsess over what the right decision would ultimately be. I consulted numerous friends, one of whom is a preschool teacher, she said to stay home because no one looks kindly on someone who works with small children coming to work noticeably sick. There was some hemming and hawing from other friends, but all ultimately agreed it would look bad if I made my first impression with a nasty cold.

I woke up this morning at the exact time I would have had to get up to go to work…no alarm. I apparently was more excited to start my new job than I let myself think. I also felt like death barely warmed over. I fretted about my decision to call out sick on my first day a little more then I bit the bullet and did it. I promptly passed out for another two hours and woke up feeling pretty close to human. All my fears about what would be said/done after I called out sick on my first day culminated with an email from the director of the program saying things seemed to go well and could I please be in touch with everyone Wednesday night as to whether or not I would be in on Thursday or if they needed to plan for my being out. Had I made a mountain out of a molehill?

I have spent the better part of the day blowing my nose, watching bad movies on my computer, doing a little bit of editing work, and pondering the difference between a strong work ethic and common sense. Growing up my dad never called out sick, he probably retired with close to five years of unused sick time. As a dancer there is no calling out sick, the show must go on. Most jobs I have worked did not offer paid sick leave. Calling out sick meant a smaller paycheck so it was rarely an option I took. I’ve always just plowed through things regardless of how I am feeling. Today I began questioning that. I am quite certain I got sick from a student who decided to come to yoga sick. If I kept pushing myself like that woman the likelihood of my getting other people sick would be quite high. I was angry with the woman for showing up sick, repeating her behavior would be pretty stupid on my part. Plus, after a day of resting I’m starting to feel better. Imagine that, resting leads to feeling better quickly.


About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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